Proview sues Apple over iPad trademark in Shanghai

Updated: 2012-02-22 23:01


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SHANGHAI - A Chinese company sued a distributor of Apple products in a Shanghai court Wednesday, seeking to ban the sale of the company's iconic iPad mobile device.

Proview sues Apple over iPad trademark in Shanghai

Xie Xianghui, a lawyer representing Proview Technology (Shenzhen), speaks to reporters in front of the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court in Shanghai February 22, 2012. A Shanghai court began hearing on Wednesday a case brought by Chinese technology firm Proview, seeking to halt the sale of Apple Inc's iPads across the affluent Chinese city, accusing the US firm of trademark infringement. [Photo/Agencies]

The Pudong New District People's Court held a hearing Wednesday after Proview Technology (Shenzhen) asked the court to immediately ban the sale of the iPad.

The debt-laden Proview Technology (Shenzhen) has claimed that it owns the right to use the iPad trademark on the Chinese mainland and that Apple's product infringes on its trademark.

Apple Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., which runs three Apple retail stores in Shanghai, asked the court to reject Proview's request pending a final verdict on the ownership of the trademark in China.

The Shanghai court will hand its verdict down at a later date.

Proview Technology (Shenzhen) and US technology giant Apple have been tangled in a lengthy dispute over the right to use the iPad trademark in China.

Proview Technology (Shenzhen) is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-headquartered Proview International Holdings Limited, which also has a branch in Taipei.

Proview Taipei registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000, with Proview Shenzhen registering the trademark on the Chinese mainland in 2001.

Apple bought the right to use the trademark from Proview Taipei in February 2010 via IP Application Development Limited (IP), a company based in the US. However, Proview Shenzhen claims it still reserves the right to use the trademark on the Chinese mainland.

The Municipal Intermediate People's Court in Shenzhen rejected a lawsuit by Apple and IP accusing Proview Shenzhen of infringing on the iPad trademark in December 2011.

Apple has appealed to the Higher People's Court of Guangdong province and the court is scheduled to hold a hearing on February 29.

Last week, a court in the city of Huizhou in Guangdong ruled in favor of Proview, ordering a local retailer to stop selling iPads.

Apple said last week that it bought Proview's worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Apple added that a Hong Kong court backed the company, as Proview refused to honor their agreement.

Although a final verdict in the mainland has yet to be delivered, authorities in some Chinese cities have taken action to seize iPads after receiving complaints from Proview Shenzhen.

The move has also prompted Apple retailers in many Chinese cities to pull iPads off their shelves.

Sun Peilin, an analyst with Analysys International, said the trademark dispute may delay sales of Apple's third-generation iPads in China. The third-generation iPad is rumored to be launched next month.

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